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Bord Gais to spend €2bn on wind and voltage works  

Bord Gais yesterday reported a 29pc increase in profits to €166m for 2007 and said it was embarking on a new strategy which will involve an investment of €2bn in new ventures such as wind power and electricity generation.

The profit increase was achieved on the back of higher gas sales and its growing presence in the electricity market.

Speaking at the presentation of results, Bord Gais chief executive John Mullins said the company is set for a period of major growth and development as it establishes itself as a leading energy supplier in Ireland.

The new strategy will aim at doubling the value of the business and grow its customer base to over one million by 2014.

“While natural gas will remain a key part of Bord Gais business, the company will look to develop and build a diverse portfolio of assets within the Irish energy sector,” Mr Mullins reported.

Of the €2bn investment earmarked for the period to 2014, some €1bn will be set aside for investment in new business areas such as wind power.

It will also enter the domestic market for electricity. Mr Mullins pointed out that it already controls about 8pc of the electricity market in Ireland and plans to increase that share significantly.

“It is our intention to enter the residential electricity supply market prior to the commissioning of our Whitegate asset in 2010, providing competitive, dual-fuel and sustainable product offerings and thereby providing all our current and new customers with better choice and value for money,” he said.

During 2007 group sales rose 10pc to €1.215bn while within this gas sales were up 8pc to €763m. Gas transportation sales – gas carried through its network on behalf of other companies were also up 8pc to €169m. Electricity sales were also up, rising by 18pc to €239m.

The group profit before tax jumped by €37m or 29pc to €166m while the business had a book value of €2.4bn at the end of 2007. During last year, the group reported higher demand for gas, mainly from electricity generators such as Huntstown, while domestic users cut consumption by an average of 9pc, mainly due to the warmer weather but also because of more efficient housing stock.

Bord Gais said construction commenced to bring gas to 11 towns in the west of Ireland while work to connect 10 towns across Northern Ireland to the grid also continued.

The company replaced a further 177km of old iron mains with modern polyethylene pipes, bringing its network up to 94pc polyethylene.

– Pat Boyle

Irish Independent

15 May 2008

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